Best drag performer
Can you believe the cosmic linchpin of Sacramento’s diva cosmology didn’t always want to fab it up?
“I was anti-drag,” explains Mercury Rising (neé Zackery Bolin, 26). “I didn’t do drag, I didn’t want to be a drag queen. I thought it was the best thing ever, but I remember swearing on everything that I would never do it.”
To show you what changed, we have to travel back roughly 10 years to a night at the no-longer Club 21, where a newly out Bolin fell under the shimmery wings of Kimora Blac and Taryn Thru-U, Sacramento’s grand dame of the scene. They and other downtown drag royals steered the reedy aspirant away from market-rate retail temptresses such as Forever 21 to discount stores and vintage shops. Lovely Mohair, a seamstress, and Kima Shay Laru, a hairstylist, offered DIY tips. Bolin paid his dues as “a bag boy,” literally shlepping the divas’ regalia to club shows, and his doe eyes opened. It all clicked on an All Hallows’ Eve.
“I mean, when you try it out on a Halloween and it’s really fun, you can’t deny it,” Mercury says, laughing.
So she’s telling me there’s a chance.
Around the same time that Mercury Rising rose (the name is a portmanteau curtsy to her astrological sign and 420 friendliness), I was fumbling together a last-minute outfit for a Halloween house party. How does my 2010 ensemble compare with the “Dinner and a Drag Show” host’s Barbarella-in-space-prison masterwork? Is that even a question?
Who dragged it best?
Can Mercury Rising sprinkle some glitter wisdom on an awkward cis writer?
Mercury Rising as intergalactic glitter rocker
Hottt pink jumpsuit (Goodwill: <$2)
Wig cap (50 cents)
Tub of glitter (Walmart: $4)
Suffering for her art: Mercury says she “doused” her bald head in Mod Podge crafting adhesive spray, sealed on the wig cap, slathered it in glitter, Black Swan’ed her eyes “and called it a day.” Not including the size-13 shoes, Mercury says, “This project cost me a total, I would say, of about $9.50.” Damn.
Royal wisdom: “The world we come from is a world of necessity. You don’t have nothin’, so you have to make it from somethin’,” Mercury says sassily. “And also my dumb ass went and took out a lease on a really expensive studio that I cannot afford, and so now all of my money has to go to that effing rent. So I can’t be spending money on no outfits!”
Raheem F. Hosseini as David Bowie’s aunt
Hot pink cardigan (Target: $30)
Lavender dress (borrowed)
Sheer pantyhose (uncomfortable)
Makeup (not bad!): “You get 20 points for perfect eyeliner. Because I could never get mine to look like that,” Mercury says charitably. “I would say, do you have access to some Wet ’n’ Wild lip gloss perhaps? I would love to see some gloss.”
Overall rating: “It’s definitely not the worst. I’ve seen some crazy shit, I won’t lie,” Mercury laughs. “My question to the new queens, I’m always like, ‘Little gay boy in drag, why you so maaad?’”